There are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when you are gunning down and removing Aiptasia and below is what has worked for us.
Where do they come from?
When using live rock and live sand that comes from the ocean in your aquarium, you are going to get living organisms that show up now and then, called hitchhikers, and may need to be removed if considered harmful to your tank. We purchased live rock that was already “cured” by the local fish store, and did not use live sand, so the number of hitchhikers we have seen in our tank have been minimal. However, there has been one kind of hitchhiker that is considered a pest called glass or Aiptasia anemones. These Aiptasia have stinging mechanisms called nematocysts that can sting and kill corals in your tank. They also can populate quickly and thus need to be removed when seen.
How Do You Remove It?
Removing Aiptasia can be tricky, depending on where they show up in your tank. Our Aiptasia showed up in the far back corner of our tank, on the very bottom of a pile of rocks. We could have removed the rock, but in doing so would have had to remove all the surrounding rocks also. If we had chose to do this we would have purchased frag shears and carved out the section of the rock housing the anemone. When doing this, you have to make sure you remove the Aiptasia completely. Even if a small foot remains, it will grow into another Aiptasia. We opted not to do this method.
Initially, we tried injecting it with a little bit of lemon juice, a recommendation from a forum post, to no avail. Next, we tried a product called Joe’s Juice. It’s a reef safe chemical that is squirted in the mouth of the Aiptasia.
After the treatment the Aiptasia retracted, shrivelled, and we have not seen it since. Doing both of these treatments required two people, a mirror, and some acrobatics (because of where the Aiptasia was in the tank), which in hindsite is probably not the best idea with 75 gallons of water in the dining room.
A more natural approach to killing Aiptasia is to find a creature that will eat Aiptasia. Our LFS recommended Peppermint Shrimp. We bought three of these little guys and will wait to see if they keep the population down.